Issue: Grimm Fairy Tales: Myths & Legends #16
Story: Raven Gregory, Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco
Writer: Raven Gregory
Artist: Joyce Mauriera, Ilias Kyriazis
Colors: Jeff Balke, Sean Forney, Ramon Ignacio Bungle
Letters: Jim Campbell
Editor: Matt Rogers, Anthony Spay
Cover A: Stjepan Sejic
Cover B: Robert Atkins, Sanju Nivangune
Cover C (Boston Comic Con Exclusive): Elias Chatzoudis
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
It appears that Disney led us astray; The Sea Witch, although purple, is actually not a fat old lady with short white hair and a penchant for punishing young, beautiful mermaids. In fact, she’s kind of sexy (although her breasts seem a little oversized, even for a Zenescope character). While I regularly recognize the problematic portrayals of women in media like comic books, video games, and even pornography, I’m not usually one to chastise comic book illustrators for the way they sexualize and objectify women. That said, I couldn’t in good conscience write a review of Grimm Fairy Tales: Myths & Legends #16 without mentioning two illustrations that I found problematic enough to warrant attention.
The first image that gave me pause is an illustration of Baba Yaga, a recurrent Grimm Fairy Tales character, that appears on page three of Myths & Legends #16. After staring at Baba Yaga — a character that has never before struck me as unduly problematic in any of the Zenescope comics I’ve read — in this illustration for an extended period of time in an attempt to figure out what bothers me so much about how she is portrayed, I reached the conclusion that it’s Baba Yaga’s hip-to-thigh ratio. And when I say that it bothers me, I mean that it struck me as so strange that I actually used a ruler to measure her bust, waist, hips, and one thigh and calculated the ratio. This is similar to the time those scientists extrapolated Barbie’s measurements to create a life-size version and realized that she not only wouldn’t be physically capable of walking, but that some of her internal organs probably wouldn’t be able to fit in her abdomen.
The second image is of the aforementioned Sea Witch, whose globular bosoms look like saggy, overfilled water balloons. Even worse, notice that the width of a single breast is nearly twice that of the Sea Witch’s upper arm (actually, no, don’t look. It might give you nightmares). Does this exist in real life? Maybe somewhere… likely as a result of plastic surgery. And while I understand that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I can’t quite figure out which type of beholder the artists were imagining this image would appeal to — apparently the same people that still find Lindsay Lohan attractive?
Although I really like the storyline that Raven Gregory, Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco are developing in Myths & Legends #16, and while I enjoy Zenescope Entertainment comics in general, this particular issue struck a chord with me and I felt that I needed to articulate it. Of course I also want to point out that it’s really only those two particular illustrations that bother me, and for very specific, somewhat nit-picky reasons. That said, I find no other faults with this issue and I still encourage all of you to read the Myths & Legends series, if for no other reason than these three words: fire-breathing mermaid. Exactly.
Rating: 2.5 / 5 Stars